27 March 2008

When We Least Expect It

Like the disciples in today's Gospel, we can sometimes be surprised by the Lord's presence at moments when we least expect it. Excited and enthusiastic about their experience at Emmaus, they were describing it to the rest of the disciples when the Lord appeared in their midst. We can sometimes become so engaged with our work or our responsibilities -- happiness or sadness, busyness or boredom that we can be startled by a sudden awareness of the Lord's presence to us. Sometimes it is easy to forget that His abiding presence is always with us, even when we are too preoccupied to notice.
We have a custom in our community where at the end of our recreation period, one sister who is assigned to be the "Presence of God" for the week claps her hands and reminds the community of the Lord's presence by sharing a sentence she learned in her daily spiritual reading. It may seem odd to be reminding the community of the Lord's presence at the conclusion of a period of recreation, talking, and often laughter. It is, however, appropriate to punctuate a period of "re-creation" a time in which we renew ourselves by spending time in each other's company -- with a reminder of the presence of Him who created us. Sometimes we are so engaged in what we are doing -- recounting a story, talking about our day, telling a joke, etc., that we -- like the early disciples -- can be "surprised" by the presence of God, when sister claps her hands to remind us.
"Recreations are indispensable not only to ensure wholesome relaxation by also to foster a true family spirit. The participation of everyone is essential. Recreation is a communal exercise in which the human gifts and virtues of each one are shared."
Constitutions of the Order of the Visitation

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